Well, to be perfectly frank, today isn’t like a Sunday, exactly. Only because I’m seeing a Wednesday matinee of “Carousel,” but it could have been a Sunday matinee, because in so many ways, every day for me is like a Sunday.
Except for Monday afternoons when I play bridge, so that’s Monday. But let me explain why I so often feel this Sunday way.
Just about seven years ago, I got laid off from my hot advertising job at an agency that shall remain nameless. (Saatchi & Saatchi.)
It was time. Truly, it was time. I was 64, an extinct species of copywriter past 60. But I hung in there, 44 years’ worth of hanging in there. Now, I don’t hang in there, I just hang. Wherever I please. I’m in the Writers Room often, a clever little top floor in an East Village Broadway building — dozens of cubicles, no cellphones allowed. Dead quiet except for the annoying click-clicking of computer keys. And various coughs and sneezes.
I am here, or actually there, most days. (But never on Sunday.) But a Tuesday morning there, or a Thursday, may just as well be a Sunday. Pretty much all days are the same now.
(At this juncture, I have to give credit to both Ezra Cohen and Vicki Kleban. He was the first person I heard use the phrase “every day is Sunday” when he talked of his retirement, and Vicki introduced me to the Writers Room.)
Is it Friday? Is it Saturday? Oftentimes, Saturday feels like Sunday. But then again, and I repeat, every day seems Sunday-like. A lot of you reading this know exactly when it is Monday morning. And when it is Friday evening. And then, it’s the weekend. “What’s a weekend?” Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess memorably asked at a dinner table in the brilliant “Downton Abbey.”
We folk, Maggie, the Countess, are included in that elite group of people who can afford not to work, or, as in my case, were tossed out of it. Who easily lose track of days — all days, in fact, are rather the same.
I choose — lunch with a friend? Lunch alone? A few hours of writing? Maybe take out my drawing pencils?
As a boy, a yeshiva bocher, I knew very well when it was Saturday. No “Winky Dink” drawings on acetate over our 1950s console TV. I couldn’t even turn on the television that day (Orthodox Jew at the time), but I could ask a neighbor or a passer-by to turn it on for me.
Now, Saturdays are for the movies with my husband, who works. But I also go to the movies, at the Angelika not far from me, to see shows at 10 in the morning. Any day at all.
But mostly I do nothing. Of course, I write — hey, you’re looking at that, but I can write this any day, any hour. There is absolutely no structure or discipline — I wake up every day between 8:30 and 9, shower, work my Nespresso machine, every morning, like it’s Sunday, and then choose what I might do.
Sure, I have plans. Dates, lunches, theater, dinners, events, but it’s any night or day.
I bought a calendar recently, a three-inch-square pad of days, day to day, a cool little objet d’art, from a gift shop at the Perez Art Museum in Miami — my husband and I go to Miami often, and often days there really feel like Sunday. But not for David, the husband. He works on his laptop remotely — he is very conscious of when it’s Monday and when it’s Tuesday, what meetings are on Wednesday, etc.
But back to the calendar. Every night, I rip off a page — May 22, May 24. You see, when you don’t have the structure of anything, days are not only the same, but months tend to be fleeting, although a bit easier to nail down. December is different from July; in New York, never mind Miami, the weather can easily give you a clue. (But to one romantic lyricist, it’s June in January, when you’re in love.)
And years now? Which one are we in, exactly?
All right. It’s 2020. But it still feels like any other recent year — 2012? 2016? Same. Trump might have changed everything, but he certainly doesn’t change what day it is.
My older sister, married to Ezra Cohen, referenced before, said once, “The days drag and the years fly.” I get it. But now, I feel the days fly and the years fly.
I turned 71 recently. I remember being 31. On a specific Sunday, then.
Hy Abady had a house in Amagansett for 30 years. A contributor for 27 years, he has collected his “Guestwords” essays in “Back in The Star Again: True Stories From the East End.”